Grocery shopping? That is two hours drive from here!

In mid-April I reviewed the Indigenous section of my Sunday morning paper. I wondered how the local residents here in Cairns would cope if the food prices were 50% higher than the rest of the country, the government let a mining company blow up a local church and then cut their water supply, sewage and garbage removal.

In the mean time, the story from New South Wales about supermarket prices being 50% higher in Indigenous communities, has moved to another level. I almost fell off my chair when I read this.

In Wilcannia, where the local supermarket was being investigated for price-gouging, it suddenly decided to close. It is the ONLY supermarket and the town’s nearest supermarket is now at Broken Hill, two hours drive away. Few people have the option of travelling that far, so those who do, are helping to supply things such as baby formula and nappies. There is talk of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs bringing emergency supplies to the town.

WHAT IS GOING ON? This is not an aid-convoy in a third world country, though it sounds like it. This is New South Wales, Australia. It does my head in to read on one page that while the Australian Rugby League Commission has scored a $1 billion TV deal, children in remote communities are having their milk delivered as emergency supplies. For real? Oh yes, for real! Welcome home to Australia.

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